It's a heartwarming idea to bring out that beloved old bin of LEGO you played with as a child and hand it down to your kids so they can experience the same magic. But it's probably safer to find a newer set. Scientists in England tested 200 used plastic toys for nine hazardous elements, and found that ten per cent contained traces of all of them.
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In a new study by researchers at the University of Toledo, toddlers who were given fewer toys played more creatively and were more engaged in their play than those who had many toys available. Mums and dads, this might be the time to remove that chicken robot, mustache plushie, emoji bingo set, and Spider-Man drone from your Amazon shopping cart. I'm sorry.
You finally snagged the toy that's been on the top of your kid's Christmas wishlist for months - now you just have to wrap it up, shove it under the tree, and bask in parental pride. ("Fine work, me. Fine work.") Well, wait. Is the toy difficult to assemble? Because nothing quite dampens the giddy thrill of watching your kid rip open a gift only to open the box and learn that you must get through 57 indestructible plastic ties, follow 17 pages of wordless instructions, insert 12 batteries that you don't have (and now the stores are all closed), and wait five hours for some software to install. ("Here's a... um... pretty bow to play with, honey. This is going to take a while.")
Inspired by games from the 2016 Self-Care Jam (which Kotaku mined for favourites), MetaFilter users recently named their favourite calming video games. Some will be familiar, but others are deep cuts by independent developers. Most aren't for winning or losing, just exploring, interacting and existing. None of them force you to battle other players in a tense show-down. Try these out if you're too stressed out for Overwatch or Plague Inc.
Google cleverly designed Chrome to prevent inevitable website crashes from bringing down the entire browser. But that stability comes at the cost of tremendous RAM usage when you have countless tabs open. There are tools you can use to help curb Chrome's memory appetite, but turning tab maintenance into a game might be the best solution.
My four-year-old daughter enjoys watching some great kids' shows including Noddy Toyland Detective, Ruby's Studio, Julie's Greenroom and so much Daniel Tiger, but once in a while, she'll ask to watch YouTube on the iPad or phone, and when I oblige, she smiles and gets this sneaky-looking glimmer in her eye. Uh oh, I'll think. Where is this going today?
If you're desperate for distraction or want to get your friend's kid something that they will love but their parents might hate, an on-trend fidget toy is the way to go. While it's disputed whether or not they actually help to reduce anxiety or increase focus, fidgeting is a common human activity, and with some pocket-friendly fidget toys, you'll find yourself a distraction whether you've got your phone or not.
So, you've been coerced into what seems like another no-win parenting scenario: It's LEGO time, and your aspiring Frank Lloyd Wright doesn't want your help in building an amphibious rainbow tank with 16 axles (plus wings). Even still, he's insisting on your participation because his genius must be witnessed (the brilliant ones are always so demanding).
If your kids go to school, you surely know what fidget spinners are. These cute little gizmos have usurped loom bands and bottle flipping as the latest craze to hit Aussie classrooms. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to inexplicably jam, resulting in frustrated and angry tots. Here's how to get your kids' fidget spinner back in working order in three quick steps.
Like lawn darts, nano-magnets and slap bracelets, fidget spinners are only one stupid stunt away from becoming yet another forgotten fad. And as usual, instead of enjoying them responsibly, the internet is hard at work trying to find ways to make spinners as dangerous as playing with firecrackers. This is why we can't have fun things.
There's no shortage of clever coffee mugs in the workplace, but few can hang with the creativity behind the Build-On Brick Mug. Developed with maximum customization in mind, this unique vessel lets you alter its appearance to your heart's content.
Video: The most dangerous object in your home isn't the stove, the clothes iron, or that chainsaw in your garage. It's your alarm clock's snooze button that makes it so easy to go back to bed each morning. Silencing that alarm shouldn't be so easy, so Christopher Guichet built an alarm clock that can only be deactivated with a perfect shot from a Nerf blaster.